A Gift Straight From Our Creator
Susie Selock, 2016
It was my first week in the field installing wells in Central Malawi. I was getting accustomed to the routine of bumpy long rides to well sites and being greeted by happy welcoming villagers. I was paired with veteran MMM volunteer Ellen Doshier who did a great job of teaching me the ropes. At one village site, a proud mother presented us with her newborn twins and we were honored to be able to hold their tiny bodies all wrapped up in beautiful chitenje cloth. The mother shown here behind us was beaming with great pride. I was so happy for this young family.
Ellen told me later that twins born in Malawi were a mixed blessing. Often due to the hardship of raising 2 infants at a time, the twins did not survive infancy. The Malawi government used to offer subsidies to families with twins but the government is no longer able to do this due to financial reasons.
The fact that this mother now has access to clean safe drinking water at just the right time for these newborns seemed to be a gift straight from our Creator.
Please join me in praying for these 2 new lives and for the work done by Marion Medical Mission through the grace of God working as the Body of Christ.
"Somebody Else Can Get the Easy Ones"
Steve Woxland, 2015
This was my 3rd trip with Marion Medical Mission and it could not have been better. Four of were sent to Zambia and the comraderie was extraordinary. Our alarms went off at 4:45, devotions at 5:30 and then off to start the well installations.
The people who fascinated me the most were the field officers. This year we had a very special man, Goodwin Banda. Goodwin is an intelligent, committed Christian and family man and he certainly enjoyed conversing with us. This included the serious, as well as the light-hearted conversations.
I asked where the next well was located, and he replied "it is very far, quite a long distance." I then, jokingly, asked why he didn't ever say that it is near, it is close by. He replied, "somebody else can get the easy ones, only Marion would go through such obstacles to get the hard ones." He also reported that MMM has a good reputation. I presumed that he was talking about those Zambians seeking employment with NGOs.
This got me thinking about a book I had recently read, "When Helping Hurts" by Corbett & Fikkert. In this book, which is often quoted by other writers on this subject, they explain some of the do's and don'ts with regard to helping the poor. I found that MMM does not violate any of the don'ts and does most of the do's.
I think all of the volunteers want to feel good about the organization they are assisting. After reading the book and knowing MMM's funding practices and promises to donors, I couldn't be happier or more grateful to have served with Marion Medical Mission.
Where I Saw God Today
Harry Bremer, 2016
Where did I see God?
Once again, I was in Zambia, staying in the towns of Lundazi & Chipata. There would be days of driving over 2 hours before getting to the first well. My partner and I drove nearly 1,800 miles, and completed 96 wells. As a result, over 2,400 households now have clean water, serving over 24,000 people!
Where was God?
Outside of Chipata, the villages were set in open plains with the mountains in the background. How beautiful.
Villages’ gardens, so green, often next to the new wells
Women singing with wonderful harmony at the wells
Villages excitement (especially children) when the truck would arrive
Willingness of the villagers to help carry the hand pump parts to the well
Children shouting muzungu (white person)
Children wanting to hold hands with muzungu walking to/from the wells
The excitement of all the people trying to get a taste of the clean water from the new well
Words cannot describe the feeling one has when you see clean water coming from a new well after walking by open contaminated water holes.
Where was God? God was everywhere!
A Miracle that Never Gets Old
Joel Magee, 2017
Inscribed on top of every MMM well are the words "Glory to God" in English and in the native language. Each time the well is used the user is reminded to give thanks for "water is life." A simple statement, but very profound, after one spends a few days in East Africa.
After eight trips with MMM I still get excited watching clear clean water being discharged from the new pumps, especially after seeing the watering hole they replaced. More often than not, it is literally a hole in the ground, colored gray or green with cut-out steps leading down to a precarious landing where the mamas can kneel and dip their 5 gallon pail into the murky water.
Every year is a different experience. This year was special in that my niece accompanied me to Tanzania where together we installed and dedicated 251 protected water wells. The driving was still challenging, the walks difficult, yet the results were most gratifying: clean water for remote villages where previously they had shared their water resources with their livestock, dogs and wild animals. After every installation the villagers recited their thanks to Americans back home for providing support for this program and encouraged us to relate the continued need to the donors back home that their neighbors needed wells as much as they.
I enjoy watching the mamas intently paying attention to the installation supervisor demonstrating the proper use and care for the completed well. Even the men and children take an active interest. Everyone seems to want a turn at pumping and are amazed to see clear water discharging so effortlessly.
What we take for granted back home they see as a miracle. The prayer a villager gives at every dedication conveys a powerful thanksgiving for this life-giving substance. Even though it is in Swahili you can tell by their inflection, tone, length, and key words (baba=father, asante asante = thank you, thank you) that they are moved and are giving heartfelt thanks to God for this blessing. Sharing this experience always reminds me of the blessings I have received.
I wish every American could experience the excitement, the significance, the friendships, the difficulties, the hardships, the joys, and the community that participating in this mission brings. Three weeks in Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi working hand in hand with these Africans is if not life changing then certainly eye opening in many ways to forming or transforming one's world view.
New volunteers are always welcomed, one trip is rarely enough, once you have experienced an MMM trip.
Bringing clean water to these remote villages truly is a miracle that never gets old! Sharing in that accomplishment is a great joy.
Upon entering the village to install the next well, our truck was once again surrounded by celebrating villagers. Such excitement and joy embraced us. As I began to climb down from the driver’s seat of the truck, a 5 year old little barefoot girl came and immediately took my hand to escort me to the well site. I was told that her name was Wyneece. As we walked down the long and steep incline, she slowed to make sure I was safe – still holding tightly to my hand. She remained close beside me as the data was entered into the Android, the pump was installed, and the well dedication began. Wyneece’s Uncle, the Headman of the Village, opened the dedication with prayer and as I had done hundreds of times before, I knelt down beside the well and placed both of my hands on the top slab. Surprised to feel someone kneeling beside me, I opened my eyes to find Wyneece with head bowed. As I began to close my eyes, she placed her small little dusty hand on top of my hand where it remained until the final Amen.
When we returned to the truck – still hand in hand – her Uncle told our Field Officer that I was the first Mzungu (White person) she had ever seen. I will never forget the picture of her kneeling with me at the well. Some of our most memorable pictures cannot be captured by a camera – this is one of those - but it will remain forever in my heart.